4 best beaches in the Dominican Republic

Travel writer and Caribbean expert Sarah Cameron uncovers the Dominican Republic's best beaches
La Playita, one of the best beaches on the Dominican Republic.
La Playita beach, Dominican Republic

Travel brochures extol the virtues of the beaches of the southeast of the Dominican Republic, where miles of sand and palm trees are now backed by wall-to-wall all-inclusive hotels and the busiest airport on the island at Punta Cana. If you want convenient sun, sea and sand, then look no further... but they can get crowded. So here are four great alternatives if you're looking for the island's best beaches:


1. Playa de las Aguilas

The best of the best for lovers of desert beaches. Situated in the Parque Nacional Jaragua in the far southwest of the Dominican Republic, there are no facilities, no road, no hotel and no people – on a Saturday in December there was one family and one other couple a long way off. The vegetation in this dry part of the country is scrub and cactus, but there are a few trees for shade. The sand is bright white, the sea a beautiful turquoise. You can here by boat from the beach bar on the edge of the park 10 minutes away by water, or by a long hot walk over the headland.

2. Playa La Ensenada

Fishing boats are pulled up on the sand of this beautiful horseshoe bay backed by green hills. On the north coast, west of Puerto Plata, this is the perfect day trip or longer retreat, as there are places to stay. One thing is for certain, you won’t go hungry. All along the beachside track are huts selling lobster, crab, fish and whatever else the fishermen can pull from the sea, cooked by formidable women over open wood fires. Tables and chairs are set under trees on the beach, patrolled by lithe dogs who just want you to know that they really, really love you.

3. Playa Bonita

Just west of Las Terrenas on the Samaná peninsula, this beach initially became popular as a quieter overspill from Las Terrenas, with fewer people and motoconchos along the seaside track. Nowadays there are more residences and rental homes, but it is still peaceful and under-populated. The Hotel Atlantis continues to be the best place to stay, with some of the best food in the country. You can walk for miles along this archetypal Caribbean beach, complete with leaning palm trees and golden sand.

4. La Playita

Just before you get to Las Galeras on the Samaná peninsula, turn left down a dirt track and keep going until you hit the beach at the end. This small but pretty beach with the ubiquitous palm trees for shade also has a good beach bar/restaurant and a dive shop. Sun beds and umbrellas are available for rent and there are a few vendors selling coconut water, fruit and arts and crafts. The downside is that it gets packed with cruise ship passengers when there is a ship in Samaná Bay, but on other days you can have the place to yourself.


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